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AMA calls on Senate leadership to stop “smoke screens” and “foot-dragging” and pass strong patients’ rights legislation

For immediate release
June 13, 2000

CHICAGO – The chairman of the American Medical Association Board of Trustees today called on the Senate Republican leadership to stop “the foot-dragging, smoke screens and posturing,” and pass a meaningful patients’ bill of rights.

Speaking to 550 physician delegates at its Annual Meeting in Chicago, AMA Board Chair, D. Ted Lewers said, “Physicians across the country need to send a strong message to Senators (Bill) Frist (R-Tenn.) and (Don) Nickles (R-Okla.),” leaders of the opposition to the legislation.

The AMA supports the Norwood-Dingell patients’ rights legislation passed overwhelmingly by 275 votes in the House last fall. Last week the Senate tabled the same measure by 51-48.

“We are one vote away in the U.S. Senate from getting meaningful patients’ rights legislation signed into law,” Dr. Lewers said. Republican senators should “stop dragging their feet and give patients the protections that voters strongly support by wide margins.”

Toward that goal, the AMA announced it is launching a “tough campaign” to gain the needed votes. Specifically, the AMA said:

  • It is launching, along with local, state and specialty medical societies, a grassroots and media campaign in several key states where Republican senators do not support a meaningful patients’ bill of rights. The campaign will begin next week in Missouri.

  • In addition, the AMA is coordinating grassroots pressure on the Senate being applied by national medical specialty societies.

“The opposition may have more money,” said Dr. Lewers. “But we have the one thing on our side that is overwhelming – the support of the American people and the voice of their physicians. We will not be denied.”

For more information, contact:
Mike Lynch
AMA Dept. of News and Information
(312) 294-6646 (Beeper 1-800-759-8352 pin # 1268976)

Last updated: Jun 13, 2000

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